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Medical Secretary


Description

Medical secretaries support doctors and other health care professionals by performing a wide variety of clerical and administrative tasks. These duties range from scheduling appointments to word processing to filing. Since their work is highly specialized, their job requires them to have knowledge of medical terminology and procedures, such as insurance rules, billing practices and hospital or laboratory procedures.

Medical secretaries transcribe dictation, prepare correspondence, and assist physicians or medical scientists with reports, speeches, articles, and conference proceedings. They may also record patients' medical histories and order medical supplies. More generally, they organize and control the day-to-day functions of a health office or institution. They are truly the supporting backbone of a health organization and without them; most doctor's offices and hospitals would be in complete disarray. The duties and functions of a medical secretary vary greatly from one organization to the next. They perform administrative tasks ranging from routine general office functions to acting as special assistants in particular patient's cases. Depending on one's level of experience, the administrative duties will fluctuate.

In the last decade, the role of the medical secretary drastically evolved due to technological advancements. Computers have replaced and simplified some of the once-traditional tasks allowing medical secretaries to take on more challenging projects and responsibilities once reserved for nurses and other professional staff. Functions such as training new staff members, conducting research on the Internet, operating new office programs such as spreadsheets and multimedia presentations and operating medical equipment are good examples of some newer duties. In accordance with these technological changes, the medical secretary's main operative responsibilities have remained much the same. They still must answer phones, book appointments and run the medical office's administrative side.
 
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Matching School Ad
Southern California Health Institute
Since 1996, Southern California Health Institute has been dedicated and committed to helping students achieve their dreams by providing an exceptional education that enables them to become skilled and successful manual therapists.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Program

 

 



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$18,310
 
Median Salary:
$24,430
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$37,550

  Interests and Skills  
Medical secretaries will have good oral and written communication skills because they constantly speak with many people on the phone, booking appointments and answering questions. They have good interpersonal skills, excellent organizational and time management skills, and have the ability to work independently or as part of a team. Since many of the clients they deal with are sick, they must be sympathetic and patient with everyone they deal with. Finally, medical secretaries must have the ability to compile and organize information.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Answer the telephone, schedule and confirm medical appointments, greet patients, and receive and communicate messages to doctors
  • Use word processing, spreadsheet and other software applications to prepare reports, invoices, financial statements, letters, case histories and medical records
  • Interview patients to complete intake forms and other documents
  • Complete insurance and other claim forms
  • Set up and maintain records management systems, including classifying and coding electronic and hardcopy files
  • Operate sophisticated office equipment such as voice mail messaging systems
  • Perform other clerical and administrative functions as required, such as maintaining an inventory of supplies
  • Medical secretaries always work in health care settings. They may work at a desk or standing on their feet answering phones and greeting patients. Standard office hours are the norm for most medical secretaries, yet some may be required to work evenings and weekends. Those who work in hospitals and doctor's offices dealing directly with patients may regularly be exposed to contagious diseases.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Medical secretaries are employed by all kinds of health organizations: doctor's offices, hospitals, medical clinics and any other health care settings.

  Long Term Career Potential  
There is not that much room for advancement in this field as the next step up in a health organization is a doctor or nurse; both of which require extensive education. Experienced medical secretaries often advance from performing routine clerical tasks, such as answering phones and filing to the supervision of other medical secretaries. They can also move to other fields and work as administrative assistants and receptionists in the communications field or for a government agency.
 

  Educational Paths  
There is no set path for becoming a medical secretary. Most positions only require a high school diploma with strong communication skills. Community colleges offer diplomas and certificates in medical administrative or secretarial positions, which can also be very helpful and give you a competitive edge when searching for a job. Many medical secretaries also have related postsecondary educations in health. Knowledge of medical terminology is essential.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

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Southern California Health Institute  Online
Since 1996, Southern California Health Institute has been dedicated and committed to helping students achieve their dreams by providing an exceptional education that enables them to become skilled and successful manual therapists.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Program
Campus Locations:
  • Reseda, CA

 
Stratford Career Institute  Online
Earn Your Diploma from Home!
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Billing Specialist
  • Administrative Assistant/Secretary
Campus Locations:
  • , PA

 
Penn Foster Schools  Online
Advance your career with our affordable, self-paced, career-focused distance education programs.
Programs Offered:
  • Medical Coding and Billing
Campus Locations:
  • Scranton, PA

 
Brightwood College  Online

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Office Specialist
Campus Locations:
  • Sacramento, CA

 
UEI College  Online

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Office Specialist
Campus Locations:
  • San Marcos, CA

 
Ultimate Medical Academy Online  Online

Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) offers industry-relevant knowledge and training for in demand careers in healthcare.

Programs Offered:
  • Diploma - Medical Administrative Assistant
  • Diploma - Medical Office Billing Specialist
  • A.S. - Medical Billing & Coding
  • more programs...
Campus Locations:
  • , FL

 
Institute of Technology  Online

You can get started on a new career with Institute of Technology.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.iot.edu/disclosure

Programs Offered:
  • Medical Billing and Office Administration
Campus Locations:
  • Modesto, CA

 
Blake Austin College  Online
Get the hands-on training you need to succeed at Blake Austin College.
Programs Offered:
  • Administrative Medical Assistant
Campus Locations:
  • Vacaville, CA

 
Keiser University  Online

For over 35 years, Keiser University has provided student-centered, quality career education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions.

Programs Offered:
  • Associate of Science in Medical Administrative Billing and Coding
Campus Locations:
  • , FL

 
California College San Diego  Online

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

Programs Offered:
  • Health Information Management (BS)
Campus Locations:
  • San Marcos, CA

 
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